So the Flyers have required R.J. Umberger along with a 4th round draft pick in exchange for Scott Hartnell. Umberger is by all means a draft bust. He’s not as bad as many other busts but for a player taken 16th overall in the 2001 draft, he has never made it past 57 points in a season and has only topped the 50 point mark twice.
It comes as more of a shock because his better years were after he left the Flyers in 2008 and has been on quite a decline in recent years. This is also to mention that he costs 4.6 million a year against the cap until the end of the 2016-2017 season. That’s a lot of coin for a player who is 4 years removed from topping 40 points in his career high of 57 points.
I was under the impression that the Flyers big issue was finding defensemen who could stay healthy. They had gotten better as the season went into the post season and they seem to have reliable goaltending for the first time since Hextall, but not sure what this does to fix their issues. Unless he can regain a touch from 4 years ago (he is 32 so not too likely but hey, look at Jagr) he is going to end up as an expensive 3rd line player. Maybe they have plans for the 4th round pick.
Hartnell on the other hand is the same age as Umberger but has keep most of his production above the 50 point mark with exception to a few years ago and is usually good for 20+ goals a season and plays a more solid all around game.
Some may say that this is for cap room and the Flyers wanted to make some room for other deals, but the problem is that they only save 250,000 on their cap. The value isn’t there in what they Flyers did but it is a hell of a deal for the Blue Jackets. He would play well along Dubinsky and others on their lineup and add a little extra scoring.
I give the Blue Jackets the advantage in this trade with the extra production value that they are getting for about the same price and the cost of a 4th round pick.
Usually the team with the player requesting a trade is the team that loses in the end but they came out on top this time and have been making smart deals since they traded Nash to the Rangers.
It is becoming a yearly happening that the Penguins will match the Sharks at failing to bring their A-game to the playoffs. This year is no exception as the Penguins fell in 7 games to the Rangers after taking a 3-1 lead in the series and having 3 chances to close out the Rangers.
Who gets the blame for this failure? Is it the star players who failed to score (minus Malkin)? Is it the grunt players who failed to step up and protect their stars and their captain? Is it their captains fault for failing to lead his team? Or as always does the blame fall to the coach and/or GM?
With the Pens it seems like it should be a mix of everything. This is a team that yearly has top offensive power on its lines but this year only could score using its top 2. Players gained at the deadline failed to help with this nagging issue. Crosby is the leader of this team as well as leading the NHL in points and being among the best in the world at scoring and has only managed 1 goal in the playoffs. When a team sees its captain failing and struggling, it too will most likely fail. Malkin can only provide so much. Should all of the blame fall on Crosby? No, the players didn’t protect him from Mark Staal or Brandon Dubinsky and allowed for tensions to rise. The coaching staff didn’t dress enforcers to defend their captain and things took a bad turn because of this.
Fleury played better in this series then in the first round against the Blue Jackets but he is still proving to be an average goalie who has his better nights and plays behind a high scoring team to pad his stats. A sports psychologist may have worked a bit for the goalie who is currently 29 years old and in his prime, but if it isn’t going to work now then it most likely will not work going forward. With the free agent goalies on the market this off-season it may be time to cut ties with Fleury and look elsewhere. Ryan Miller is looking for a short term deal, maybe offering a 2-3 year deal to him would be a great start to making the team stronger and look into their system for future starting goalies once the deal is over.
The Penguins do not need to rebuild. They have a fantastic young core that can keep them going for years but they do need to fill in the cracks as they appear because the cracks that started a few years ago are only getting bigger as new ones are also appearing.
In what looked like a back and forth series series has now been capped off with a Penguins victory over the Blue Jackets in 6 games. Led by a Malkin hat-trick, the Penguins stormed out of the gate to a 2-0 lead by the end of the first period and 4-0 at the end of the second.
The third period took place in pure Penguin playoff fashion with Fleury giving 3 goals in 15 minutes to allow the Blue Jackets to come within 1 goal of forcing overtime and a possible game 7 back in Pittsburgh.
For the Penguins it was a shocker that they let Columbus stick around for so long. Considering the high powered offence that the Penguins possess once would have thought that Crosby and Malkin would have been running crazy on this team especially with their supporting cast, but it took until game 6 for Malkin to hit the net (3 times) and Crosby has yet to score (thought he does have 6 assists).
The Penguins move on to the semi-finals where they will play with winner of the Flyers vs. Rangers. Either team should providwe more of a challenge for the Penguins and if the Pittsburgh goal keeps letting in easy shots while their offensive weapons can’t score enough to bail them out then it will be a tough semi-finals for the Penguins regardless of which team they face.